Bangladesh proved yet again why they are a force to reckon with in home conditions, trumping New Zealand by a whopping 150 runs in the first Test in Sylhet on Saturday, December 2, 2023. Chasing a target of 332 runs, the Kiwis were bowled out for 181, giving The Tigers a famous win and a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. (Cricket News)
The home team did not have the services of veteran spin-bowling all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, but another experienced left-arm spinner Taijul Islam came to the party, bagging a 10-wicket match haul (4/109 in the first innings and 6/75 in the second) to propel his side to the victory. Taijul was ably supported by fellow tweakers Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Nayeem Hasan, as the trip together managed to spin a web around the NZ batters.
Earlier, the Kiwis stuttered to reach 113-7 at stumps on the fourth day, still needing 219 runs for what looked like an improbable win. The visitors had taken a narrow seven-run lead in the first innings, but collapsed in the second innings after Bangladesh skipper Najmul Hossain Shanto led from the front, smashing a glorious century (105 off 198 balls) to set the tone for his team.
Elated with the win, Shanto said: "The credit goes to all the players, especially Taijul, Nayeem, Shoriful and Mehidy. Everyone enjoyed this match, we weren't thinking about the result. As youngsters, this was an opportunity to do well for our team and win it. We could've scored 50-odd runs more in the first innings but the bowlers did a great job. Batsmen will need to take more responsibility in the next game, that'll help. Thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to captain here. Half job done, everyone looking forward to the next Test."